Disappointing Breakfast for State in Panayiotou trial

2016-10-26 15:35
Christopher Panayiotou alongside his co-accused in court. (Derrick Spies/News24)

Christopher Panayiotou alongside his co-accused in court. (Derrick Spies/News24)

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Port Elizabeth – The State asked for an adjournment in Christopher Panayiotou’s trial on Wednesday, after evidence led by witness Luthando Siyoni’s girlfriend did not appear to match her affidavit.

Prosecutor Marius Stander asked for a brief adjournment during the testimony of Babalwa Breakfast, when she started testifying about a large sum of money she said she found in Siyoni’s gym bag.

The brief adjournment was extended to noon, and then to 14:15.

Panayiotou, Sinethemba Nenembe, and Zolani Sibeko are on trial on charges of conspiring, kidnapping, robbing, and killing his schoolteacher wife Jayde on April 21 last year. They have pleaded not guilty.

Sizwezakhe Vumazonke, believed to be the hitman hired by Siyoni, died in a Port Elizabeth hospital in September. Siyoni worked as a bouncer at Panayiotou’s Infinity Cocktail Bar in Algoa Park. He has turned State witness.

Breakfast told the court how, on April 27 last year, police came to her house in Tonjeni Street, Zwide, and asked her to accompany them to the police station to answer questions about Siyoni.

They first took her to the Infinity bar to fetch Siyoni. She and Siyoni were taken to the KwaNobuhle police station in separate cars, placed in separate rooms, and questioned.

Money in the gym bag

Stander produced a photograph of a black gym bag. Breakfast said the bag belonged to Siyoni.

When Breakfast began to testify about how she came into possession of the money, Stander became agitated.

She said she found the bag at Siyoni’s house and was told to take it back to her house. She looked inside and saw it contained a lot of money.

When she asked Siyoni about it the next day, he first said it just contained his gym clothes. When she told him she had seen the money, he told her it was from working at the bar as a bouncer and from his gym. He was saving the money for renovations on the bar, he told her.

Siyoni asked her to count the money, and she put it into a pair of school socks for safe keeping.
Call for adjournment

At this point Stander asked for an adjournment to consult his investigating officer. As court was adjourned, Breakfast quickly stepped down and left the stand, trying to hide her face from journalists taking photos.

Court orderlies later escorted her into a waiting room and closed the door. Stander and investigating officer Kanna Swanepoel were not allowed to speak to her.

It was not clear what Breakfast’s original affidavit states, as it has not been entered into the court record yet.

Read more on:    christopher panayiotou  |  jayde panayiotou  |  port elizabeth  |  crime

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